Boys And Girls Hockey Teams To Split Locker Room Space
By: Alex Scofield
The Sandwich High School boys’ hockey team will not lose their locker room at John Gallo Ice Arena, said Athletic Director Martin L. Cosgrove this week.
Mr. Cosgrove said he has found a resolution to a call for equity in locker room space for the boys’ and girls’ hockey teams at the rink.
Mr. Cosgrove said his solution, which some feared might result in the boys’ team losing their locker room, instead calls for the two teams to share the space.
Last week, Mr. Cosgrove confirmed that he received a letter from a parent stating that it was unfair for the boys’ hockey team to have a reserved locker room at the rink while the girls’ team did not.
The letter raised a red flag, Mr. Cosgrove said, as there were concerns within the high school that by not providing equal locker room space the district would be vulnerable to a lawsuit based on the Federal Education Amendments of 1972.
Known more commonly as the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, in honor of its principal author, as well as Title 9 of the amendments, the law states that “no person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to the discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Mr. Cosgrove said that he has been assured by the school’s legal counsel, Joseph A. Emerson of Westwood, that his proposed solution to the issue is a legally acceptable one.
Currently, the boys are using the locker room at the ice arena more often than the girls’ team due to the fact that the boys team’s booster club, the 100 Club, pays the rental cost.
However, Mr. Cosgrove said that girls are allowed to store their equipment in the room and are allowed to use it as a changing room during their home games.
Mr. Cosgrove said he also planned to meet with the Bourne Recreation Authority’s board of directors, who oversee the ice arena, about the possibility of being able to add some storage space to the locker room.
“Hopefully the 100 Club or the parents of the girls’ hockey team could pay for that,” she said.
Gregory A. Folino, chairman of the recreation authority, could not be reached for comment this week.
Sandwich High School Principal Ellin S. Booras said that Mr. Cosgrove’s proposed solution was reasonable and fair.
She said, in her opinion, it was never the intention of Title 9 to immediately level the playing field for male and female athletes by dramatically reducing the amount of support schools gave to boys’ teams.
Ms. Booras said that given all the time the boys’ hockey team has been in existence, and all the community support it has earned, it deserves to retain its spot at Gallo.
She said that by making some room for the girls’ team in the locker room, while asking the boys’ team to sacrifice some space and locker room time, was a gradual move toward balance that was more in line with the true intention of the law.
“Equity in availability and storage space is the goal here,” Ms. Booras said.
She also commended members of the boys’ team for not publicly making a fuss or lashing out at members of the girls’ team over the possibility of having to sacrifice their locker room.
“They handled it in a very mature manner,” she said.
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